Title: Primeval Season One
Characters: Chloe, Nick, Stephen, Abby, Connor, Claudia, Capt. Ryan, Lester, Ben Becker & others.
Fandoms: Smallville/Primeval (bbc)
Disclaimer: Don't own
Summary: Chloe was in love with the man of her dreams, and then she let her curiosity get the better of her and walked through an anomaly...waking up in England two years later, in the custody of James Lester and the Home Office. Now, with mysterious circumstances surrounding her before her rescue, and with everyone she loved thinking her dead, Chloe is forced to join the Anomaly Reaseach team or stay the Home Office's 'guest' indefinitely. She must make a new life, learn to create a new family with her team members, and all of this while not realizing that she and the leader of her new team, Nick Cutter, might share more than just an interest in the unexplainable.
She was on her old Facebook account, browsing through the pictures.
And saving them.
Taking in a deep breath she finally clicked on one of the albums she'd been avoiding since logging on...and a picture of her and Ben was the first thing she saw. She remembered when Lois had taken the picture without her or Ben noticing. They'd just been engrossed in each other, talking and laughing, their hands locked in a tight yet comfortable hold. The blonde brought a hand to her face and took in a deep breath before continuing looking at the pictures, and saving them to the hard drive of the laptop Nick had helped her pick out for herself. There were pictures of Ben backing her around on his back, pretending to be about to fall from her weight while she was red-faced and laughing-there were pictures of her pressed back against the wall with Ben pressed up against her, kissing her to an inch of her life, her hands in his hair and his hands gripping her hips. There were so many pictures of her and Ben, so many in that little amount of time...two years ago.
Chloe covered her face with both hands, breathing shakily, trying to keep composed.
She'd promised herself she wouldn't cry.
But as she pulled her hands from her face and gazed upon the memories of better days her heart was being squeezed. It was all just so painful.Ben
She traced the outlines of his face on the screen.What are you doing now?
She closed eyes.Do you ever wonder what happened to me?
She stood up and wiped at her misty eyes, taking in a deep breath and closing the lid on the computer, unable to look at it anymore.
Not for right now at least.
She needed to focus.
On her job.
for her job.
It'd given her new focus.
And a valid excuse to avoid the memories and questions.
Now that Stephen had been let out of the hospital, she needed to concentrate on the anomaly that the creature that'd hurt him had come from. This anomaly was interesting because the first one, the first one the team had found-the one they'd found her in-had closed, but according to Connor, who was constantly checking up on this new anomaly, the magnetic field had remained consisted at five tesla with no sign of deterioration.
That had to mean something.
If only Stephen could remember what had happened after he'd gotten attacked by that centipede on steroids.
Chloe had a feeling Nick was hiding something from them, something Stephen would have remembered and told them.
But why would Nick keep something from them?
The blonde Scot was always very nice to Chloe, though odd, and she was a little worried about how obsessive he'd grown with the anomalies. At least it was serving them well. They now were beginning to believe that the anomalies could be intermittent, and that while they faded from time to time they never completely disappeared. And that gave way to so many different possibilities. Like the dragons of the past...could have been just dinosaurs that'd gone through an anomaly and come upon the people there. Of course the people of that time would have attributed them to some sort of mythical creature. It made such scary sense.
The anomalies were conclusive proof that the past existed in a fourth dimension as real and solid as those they already knew, and it was their job to predict and contain them.
How fascinating and utterly terrifying was that?
Her mobile rung.
Chloe cleared her throat and wiped her eyes before answering. "Sullivan."
"We got another. " Stephen's voice proclaimed in her ear. "Be by the parking lot in two minutes."
He hung up.
She snorted, shaking her head and wiping more fiercely at her eyes.
The blonde got up and grabbed her things, hurrying down to where everyone were waiting on her. The smile she gave her colleagues was a genuine one as she gave Connor a playful push so he could scoot over. They drove over to some indoor pool place, and heard the story about the aquatic monster the survivor claimed killed her boyfriend.
"With all the chlorine in the pool I'm surprised the creature came through." Connor confessed to Chloe as Stephen, in a wet suit, scanned the pool, which was now creature and anomaly free. "To a reptile it would have been like swimming in a bucket of acid."
"Really?" Chloe asked as she sat on the edge of the pool, shoes off, dangling her feet in said water. "It's nice to me."
Stephen surfaced, pulling off his goggles and mouthpiece, sighing. "There's definitely no anomaly anymore. No creature either." He ran his hand over his wet hair. "It probably sensed the danger presented by the chemicals in the water and got out fast before the anomaly closed.
They'd thought it was over.
But then a couple of hours later they were in Lester's office.
In a reservoir 20 miles down, filled with people swimming, walking along the waterfront, sailing, canoeing, a large lump of meat had floated to the surface in front of a set of canoeists.
There were two very important details.
One was that there wasn't anything in the reservoir that should have left the half-eaten meat.
Two was that the DNA exam they'd done of the remains proved conclusive. It was what was left of the man who'd been killed at the pool.
"It's a bolus." Nick explained. "A regurgitated mass of flesh and bone. The beast swallowed him whole and then vomited up what it couldn't digest."
"And what kind of creature could have done this to him?" Lester wanted to know, folding his arms over his chest.
"How is that the first question that came to your mind?" Chloe snorted, leaning back in her chair.
Lester turned an unimpressed look in her direction. "And according to you, Miss Sullivan, what should be the first question to cross my mind?"
She shook her head.
This should be obvious.
"What you should be asking yourself, sir," Chloe leaned forwards and looked at him. "Is how the remains of a guy who was attacked in a swimming pool ended up 20 miles away in a reservoir."
Lester pouted. "Maybe there never was an anomaly. Maybe the girl murdered her boyfriend in the swimming pool and dumped his body in the reservoir?"
"It's very likely." Nick surprised everyone by agreeing. "Provided you also believe she swallowed him whole and then drove 20 miles down the motorway to regurgitate his remains."
Lester turned his glare from Chloe to Nick. "All right, then you explain it."
Nick nodded. "We know it was the same beast in the pool and the reservoir. Perhaps the anomaly has a fixed point of origin in the past, yet somehow it remains fluid in our time. They don't just open, they move."
"Move." Lester didn't seem impressed at all.
Chloe was though. "That's brilliant."
Nick grinned. "What we need to do now is go back to that reservoir and do some more research."
Of course, doing some more research on these things wasn't exactly Chloe's field, so while the others all did whatever it was that they did, the blonde strolled around taking pictures. She took pictures of the onlookers, who were being kept back by Ryan's spare men, took pictures of Claudia, Captain Ryan and Nick as they spoke, of Connor as he marked water levels, of Abby and Stephen as they tested water samples, and of the reservoir itself.
They hadn't found anything yet. No creature, no anomaly, no nothing. They were still searching the reservoir, but with any luck the anomaly had closed again.
"I need detailed local maps, lists of swimming pools, rivers, lakes, anything nearby." Nick turned to Claudia. "Can you get those for me?
The redhead gave him a wry smile. "Should I be asking why?"
He smiled back. "It's just an idea."
"Professor!" Connor looked up from his marks. "Professor!"
Chloe turned towards the call.
Nick rushed around to the other side of the pier to where Connor was poking a stick into the water. The stick had a piece of red tape around it part way up.
The water doesn't reach the red tape.
"You're really going to want to see this." Connor predicted with a large grin. "The reservoir's land locked, right?"
"Yes." The leader of their ragtag team nodded.
"So, allowing for condensation and rainfall, the depth should be pretty consistent."
"Yes." Nick agreed once more.
"Well, I made this mark at water level earlier." Connor announced as he showed Nick the tape before putting the stick back in the water. "The water level's fallen 40 centimetres since then." His grin grew as he turned to look at Nick. "This isn't a reservoir any more, it's a tidal lake. The water's literally pouring out of it."
"It must be flowing out through the anomaly." Nick deducted, running a hand over his head as he looked out across the reservoir. "Which means it's still down there somewhere."
Chloe followed their gaze to the water and began taking pictures, wondering if something like this was what had created the Nessie Legend. Some poor dinosaur going through an anomaly and appearing to the villagers, forever to be immortalized as the Loch Ness Monster.
It explained how there were so many sightings of the creature, but how all the attempts to find Nessie had failed.
And then that got her wondering if that was so, what sort of dinosaur Nessie really was.
And that made her realize that she really didn't know her dinosaurs.
It was shameful given her current line of work.Right. Must do some studying
So deep in her thoughts Chloe nearly missed it, nearly took it as a trick of the eye, but then she really stopped and narrowed her eyes in concentration. "Nick?" Her eyes widened as she realized what she was seeing. "Nick!"
Connor and Nick looked up at her yell.
"What is it?" Nick asked as he jogged up towards her.
"Look." She grinned, pointing to her discovery. "Don't you see? There's steam." Her grin turned ridiculously large. "The tide must be coming in, bringing in warmer water from the other side." She reached out and grabbed Nick's arm. "The steam has to be exactly where the anomaly is."
Nick stared across the water at the steam before giving a choked laugh, turning and grabbing Chloe's head, dropping a kiss to her forehead. "Smart girl!" And with that he hurried to find Captain Ryan and Stephen.
Chloe watched him go, smiling.
Maybe she wasn't so useless to this team after all.
She was still praising herself as she sat on the wall separating the bank of the reservoir with the rest of the land. She was going over the pictures she'd taken, since there was nothing more to do. Nick and Stephen were with Captain Ryan's men, in the water, in scuba gear studying the anomaly, while Connor and Abby stood waist deep in the reservoir, collecting sample of water.
"Why does Stephen get all the fun stuff to do whilst we get stuck collecting water samples?" Connor wanted to know, voice a whine.
"He looks better in a wetsuit." Abby replied without having to think of the answer.
"That's debatable." Connor pouted at the pixie-like girl whom Chloe was almost sure he had a major crush on. "I could do the action stuff too as well, you know. I'm not just a massive intellect."
Chloe sniggered at that one, training her camera on them and starting to snap some pictures, if only to record Connor's many different pouty-faces.
Something spooked a pair of swans swimming near to the arguing duo.
Chloe frowned, eyeing the area suspiciously through the lens, seeing something dark beneath the water before it surfaced, swimming towards the two in the water.
It was unlike anything Chloe had seen before, and she was willing to bet it all on that this was what had regurgitated that poor swimmer. "GUYS!" She screamed, standing up on the wall and waving her arms crazily to attract their attentions. "GET OUT OF THE WATER! NOW!"
Connor and Abby turned their heads to look at her before turning to look in the direction she was pointing.
"RUN!" Chloe screamed.
It seemed enough to jerk them out of their terror, Connor grabbing Abby's hand and jerking her behind him as they began to rush towards the banks, but the resistance of the water was slowing them down drastically.
"SOMEONE HELP!" Chloe called to the remaining of Ryan's team, who were still on land, but they were too far away and couldn't hear her.
With desperation she turned back to look at Abby and Connor.
The creature was gaining on them.
Connor and Abby continued trudging through the waist-deep water frantically.
The monster kept gaining ground.
"COME ON!" Chloe watched with a sickening feeling as she realized something.
They weren't going to make it.
Letting go of the camera, Chloe dropped off of the wall and down onto the bank below, running towards the water. Grabbing the intricate and beautiful dagger Stephen had given her as a thank you for devising the plan to get the venom from the giant centipede, she sliced her palm, crying out in pain before placing her hand in the water, clenching and opening her palm, causing the blood to flow out quicker.
If this creature was like other marine predators it would be able to smell a drop of blood miles away.
With the water around her hand slowly turning red, Chloe was sure it would smell it.
For a second it seemed to still be heading towards Abby and Connor, and then it turned.
Heading towards her.
Not having thought through this plan past this stage, Chloe panicked, pulling her hand out of the water and scrambling up the small bank only to realize that the wall was too high to climb back up. Turning back to the water, she gave a scream as the creature leapt out and tried to reach her, but thankfully it couldn't climb up the slippery bank. She moved from side to side, trying to keep out of its reach, back pressed to the wall, the scent of her blood causing the creature to go wild and ferocious in its attempts to get at her.
"SOMEONE BLOODY HELP HER!" Connor yelled as he pulled Abby onto the bank, both of them hurrying towards where Ryan's men were, trying to catch their attention.
Chloe gulped, gaze darting around before she noticed the canoes stacked on the left of the bank. As the creature slipped back into the water after yet another failed lunge at her, the blonde darted to the side and grabbed an oar from one of the canoes. Lunging forwards she tried to hit the creature with it when it tried for her once more.
Terror built up like pressure in her ears, leaving her unable to hear anything but static.
She desperately wanted to be anywhere but here.
A heat built up inside of her stomach, throbbing and pulsating.
Her sliced, bleeding palm was burning against the wood of the oar.
She was beginning to feel faint.
And really hot.
And why did everything look brighter?
She hit the creature over the nose a couple of times before it grabbed the oar in its mouth and jerked it out of her hold.
The blonde pressed up against the wall once more, world spinning.
The monster lunged at her.
A gunshot sounded throughout the air, and the creature roared in pain, blood spurting from its side as it turned away and dove back into the water.
Chloe looked up to see Captain Ryan with his beloved M4 resting on the wall, reaching a hand down to her.
"Going up?" He asked conversationally.
She grinned, placing her uninjured hand in his and was surprised at how easy it was for him to pull her back up. "You just saved my life."
"All in a day's work, ma'am." He nodded, picking up his gun once more before frowning, noticing the blood trailing down her hand. "You're hurt. We need to get you to the medics immediately."
"I'm fine." She tried to assure as he led her to the medics, and listened to his scolding for her actions. She then got scolded by the medics, who had said that if she'd cut any deep she could have cut some very important tendons, and then by Nick when he surfaced later.
"What were you thinking?" Nick roared at her.
"She was saving us, sir." Connor surprisingly stood up to Nick before turning to Chloe and smiling. "Thank you."
"Yeah, thank you." Abby smiled as well.
Chloe grinned at them. "Anytime."
Nick glared at her for that wording.
"At least we know what it is, the creature, I mean." Connor announced, thankfully taking the attention off of a grateful Chloe, who mouthed a 'thank you' to him from behind Nick's shoulder.
Connor smiled and nodded to her.
Nick didn't notice. "What is it?"
"Some kind of mosasaur, maybe six or seven metres." Connor determined, getting down to business. "Cretaceous, at a guess."
Nick sent Chloe a look that promised that their conversation over her 'stupidity' wasn't over, but turned his attention to Claudia as the redhead approached.
Chloe gazed at a group of Ryan's men, who were standing a short distance away with Ryan and Stephen.
"They're all really upset about losing the diver." Claudia announced shortly, eyes on Nick. "Tell me exactly what happened."
"He swam through right in front of me." Nick sighed tiredly at the memory. "He should have been able to make it back through."
"Something must have stopped him." The redhead deduced. "Are you absolutely certain the anomaly's closed?"
"Straight after the mosasaur went back through." Nick nodded, completely certain about this. "The water temperature's already returned to normal."
Claudia's expression was, for a fraction of a second, grief-stricken. "Then we've lost him."
Nick nodded, expression solemn. "Yeah."
Chloe sighed as she got up and started walking towards the bank.
"Oy." Nick called to her. "Where are you going young lady?"
"You're not my father, Nick." She called back, missing the flinch he gave. The blonde walked up to Ryan and stood next to him on the dock as he gazed at the water. "I'm sorry about your diver."
He turned his head down towards her for a second before nodding and returning his gaze to the water. "He was a good man."
She looked up at him, and could see the sadness etched in his expression.
The smaller blonde reached up and pressed a kiss to his cheek. "Thank you for saving my life. Even if it was just your job."
He looked down at her in shock before smiling. "You're welcome."
She smiled and walked away, ignoring the teasing expression Stephen threw her as she passed him.
Back at the Home Office, Nick, Claudia, and Lester were in the meeting room, a load of maps on the table. Abby and Connor had returned to their perspective flats, Chloe had decided to go out for a bit, and Stephen was waiting for Nick outside, not liking being in such closed quarters with Lester. Nick couldn't really blame him. The little man required a large amount of patience to deal with.
"The anomalies are times equivalent of an earthquake." The blonde scot announced, leaning over the maps. "Strong enough to rip apart the boundaries between dimensions. My guess is that the fault line ruptured at the swimming pool, then ran to the reservoir. It could crash its way through into our time again anywhere along this line."
"Earthquakes? Temporal fault lines?" Lester sneered. "Are we trying a little too hard people? It's random chance, that's all. There's no connection with any of it." He steepled his fingers together. "Try to look on the bright side, Cutter. The anomaly's gone, the crisis is over and I'd say we got off pretty lightly."
"Except that a good man in now permanently marooned in the past." Claudia replied with a slight narrowing of her eyes at her boss.
Lester ignored her.
"There could be another breach along the fault line at any given moment." Nick winced, the image of the diver accidentally swimming through the anomaly and disappearing flashing through his mind over and over again. "You should be stationing troops at every significant body of water between the reservoir and the coast."
Without even a second's thought, Lester shot down the idea. "The press would be crawling all over us in seconds. How on Earth would we explain it? I mean, you admit that it's all conjecture."
Nick nodded. "Yes, of course it is, but I'm right."
"You people, you're worse than the climate change mob." Lester bemoaned. "One cold day in July and suddenly it's the new Ice Age."
"You're making a mistake." Nick snapped, unable to take this little man and his attitude any longer. Not when there was a good man lost to them and he couldn't seem to bring himself to care a little. "If and when the anomaly breaks through again, I guarantee you it will be somewhere along this line." He pointed to the line he'd marked in the map before storming out of the office, telling himself that the next time there was an anomaly he was going to have to somehow find a way to make pushing Lester through it look like an accident.
He was going to have to get Chloe's input on how to do it.
She was very good at thinking on her feet, obviously somewhat crafty, and with a gift of getting herself into trouble.
Just like Helen.
Nick paused, that ache in his heart whenever Helen was concerned returning full force.
He sighed, took in a deep breath, and went down the stairs to where Stephen was waiting on him.
Patting the younger man on the shoulder as he passed, he pulled out a rolled up map. "Come on, let's go."
Stephen didn't move.
Nick stopped and turned towards him. "Is everything alright?"
Stephen took in a deep breath. "I've been remembering things...about the day the giant centipede bit me."
Nick sighed, looking away, knowing what Stephen was trying to say. "You mean Helen." He'd hoped Stephen would forget forever.
"Why didn't you tell anyone?" Stephen narrowed his eyes at Nick. "She told you that if you wanted the truth that you had to go through the anomaly to find her. Did you go looking for her?"
"Look, if she wanted to talk to me then she could have. Why keep playing games with me?"
"You mean this isn't the first time?" Stephen was glaring at him proper by now. "How long have you known she was alive?"
"Look, not long. But all these years, she let me think she was dead. She let me go through that." Nick looked away, sure he wasn't able to mask the pain he felt. "What does that tell you?"
Stephen sighed, the anger draining out of him. "Come on, there could be all kinds of reasons why she stayed away. The point is she wants to see you now."
"She left you to die on your own."
"Maybe she thought you could handle everything by yourself."
"Maybe she didn't care." Nick countered, this time narrowing his eyes at Stephen. "You think I don't want to know what happened? I've thought of nothing else
for eight years. And now I have even more
questions than you can even begin to comprehend
! Questions that leave me unable to sleep and work properly! But what if…What if the truth is worse than not knowing?" He paused, thinking about Chloe, before sighing tiredly. "Are you going to tell the others?"
"No, it's not my call." Stephen shook his head. "But if she was my wife, I'd go through a million anomalies for her."
"Yeah, but she isn't, is she?"
"But she was important to me too."
"I know that." Nick agreed, turning to leave. "Are you coming?"
Sitting in the coffee shop, Chloe cupped the warm cup of coffee for the warmth, still unable to get used to the colder London weather. She was a Metropolis girl, used to the warmth of the sun, and yet most days in London were overcast and drizzly. It took a lot of getting used to, and she was only beginning.
And least they had good coffee.
The blonde took another long sip of that delicious liquid and then looked at her bandaged hand.
She flinched at the memory.I'm not going to get any sleep tonight, she predicted with a sigh.
The laughter all around her was depressing.
It reminded her of just how alone she was in this foreign country.
"A double mocha, please."
Chloe froze, eyes wide.
She turned her head discreetly towards the counter and brought one hand to her mouth to keep her cry silent before she quickly turned her back on the figure ordering at the counter.Ben
At the Home Office, Claudia ended the phone call and turned to Lester, gaze serious.
"We haven't clarified the exact picture yet, but it looks like a plumber was attacked in some woman's cellar."
"I'm not surprised," Lester snorted. "Have you seen how much these people charge?"
"The owner of the house claims that the damage was done by some kind of large reptile."
There was a moment's silence.
"And I suppose you're going to tell me this town lies directly on Cutter's mythical fault line?" Lester sneered before noticing the expression on Claudia's face, a frown finally darkening his. "I'm really
beginning to dislike that man."
Claudia arrived in a jeep to the location of the attack, looking up as Ryan (in civies like the rest of his men) moved to greet her.
"We found a second body in the water in the basement." The tall blonde announced, face devoid of expression. "It's our diver. The man we lost in the reservoir."
Claudia's eyes widened.
"Looks like he died of shock." Captain Ryan took in a deep breath. "They found this tied around his wrist. We don't know how the hell it got there." He held up a handkerchief with the initial H.C. embroidered on it.
As she saw the initials, Claudia felt as if she'd been slapped in the face.
"Is everyone inside?"
"I have a man picking up Miss Sullivan as we speak, otherwise everyone is present."
"Thank you, Captain." The redhead nodded before heading inside, fury in every tap of her very high heels as she headed to the cellar, noticing Nick and Stephen, who were watching some soldiers disguised in civvies poking around.
Nick looked up at her and grinned. "What kept you?"
Not even his grin could win him any favors with her right now as she gave him a look.
"What is it?" Nick's smile melted into a worried expression.
She wordlessly showed him the handkerchief.
He recognized it.
He knew as well.
Stephen and Nick exchanged looked before Nick followed Claudia upstairs, going to lean against a windowsill.
"Talk, Cutter." Claudia snapped, her patience wearing thin.
"Helen's mad old aunt used to give us those handkerchiefs, um...Same present every single birthday and Christmas, and we used to make jokes about them." He sighed, still looking out of the window and not at her. "That's a message. It means Helen's waiting for me on the other side of the anomaly."
"Just like she was in the Underground."
There was a pause. "Yeah."
Claudia shook her head, unable to believe it. "Why didn't you tell me? You lied to me, to all of us."
"Try and see it from my perspective." He finally turned to face her, expression conflicted. "I had just found out that my dead wife was still alive."
"She might know things. Things that could help us." The redhead hated the disappointment she felt rising up her throat. "You have no right to decide what we should know and when we should know it."
"She's my wife."
"Maybe in your mind that gives you some kind of special privilege, but this affects all of us." Claudia whispered. "If you can't see that, then you just can't be here anymore." Letting the handkerchief fall through her fingers to the floor, she turned and walked away.
Lester arrived in his posh car, backed up by a police escort.
Ryan greeted him as he exited the car. "Area secure sir."
Lester nodded before heading into the house.
Chloe was frozen.
She'd nearly jumped when Ryan had called her telling her about the anomaly opening up and asking where she was so one of the men could come pick her up. He'd wondered why she was talking so low and shakily, but she'd merely cut him off and used the mirror in front of her to look behind her at Ben Becker, as he sat by the window and looked out. He was paler than she remembered him. And thinner. There were dark bags under his eyes and frown lines on his face. He looked nothing like the man she'd loved...she still loved. God
. What had happened
Worry for him, and worry about being found by him, warred inside of her.
On one hand she wanted him to leave immediately and not see her, but on the other hand she wanted him there so she could just watch him.
Kinda like a stalker.Ben
Her heart ached by just seeing him.Ben
Behind him, through the window, Chloe could see the black army vehicle Ryan and his men drove in.
Her mobile rung. "Hello?" She nearly whispered again.
"Miss Sullivan?" An unknown voice asked. "I am waiting outside for you."
"Okay." Disconnecting the call, Chloe walked towards the door as discreetly as she could, refusing to look in Ben's direction or do anything to call any attention to herself.
She made it out of the store, feeling sick to her stomach, looking up as the vehicle's door was opened from inside for her by the soldier.
She clasped onto the open door with a shaky hand, and then lost the battle with her self will.
The blonde turned slightly to get one last look at Ben through the window.
And found him looking straight at her, even paler than he'd been moments ago, shock and millions of different emotions warring on his face.
She could see her name on his lips.
Her heart-it hurt.
The blonde quickly dove into the car and slammed the door just as Ben, still inside the coffee shop, shot to his feet. "Drive! Quickly!"
The soldier didn't understand what was going on, but did as told, pulling out into the street rapidly and speeding away.
Chloe's teary gaze went to the passenger's side rearview mirror in time to see Ben race out of the shop, desperation his only expression, as he looked around, trying to find her.
They turned the corner and he thus disappeared from view.
"Is everything alright, ma'am?" The soldier asked. "Was that man bothering you?"
"What man?" She whispered, looking out of the window.
The soldier respected her need for silence, and pretended to not notice her wiping her eyes or the sniffles that followed after as well.
Lester was not
"The revelation that Helen Cutter's still alive changes everything."
Connor blinked, looking around in confusion. "She's still alive? Um, how did I miss that?"
"Long story." Claudia muttered.
"So, eight years, she's been living in the past." Connor shook his head, before his eyes widened. "My God. How are we going to explain Celebrity Love Island to her?"
Claudia refrained from actively ignoring Nick to glare at Connor. "Shut up Connor."
Connor shut up.
"She's eight years ahead of us in terms of understanding the anomalies." Lester began to pace the room. "Her knowledge could be priceless and we have to share it."
"Which is fine if she was here, but she isn't." Stephen pointed out.
"Which is why we're going to go and find her." Lester replied testily. "We know she wants to make contact. She must be brought back here, by force if necessary."
Nick stepped forwards, eyes narrowed. "This is my wife you're talking about."
"Which is why I want you to go through the anomaly and bring her back." Lester wasn't in the least bit intimidated. "You will of course have a military escort."
"To do what?" Nick challenged, anger leaking into his tone. "Shoot her if she won't come back?"
"To protect you, both of you." Lester replied smoothly, though his smile was anything but pleasant. "The alternative is you sever all ties with the anomaly project with immediate effect, and we'll go and find her ourselves."
There was silence.
Nick couldn't win this.
The man took in a deep breath. "Okay, on one condition. I go on my own." His eyes narrowed. "There's no question of force. I'll do my best, but if she doesn't want to come back, then that's it."
"How can we trust you?" Claudia was surprisingly enough, the one to voice the question.
"Oh, I'm sure Professor Cutter won't let us down again." Lester gave the reply, before sneering at Nick. "You will try and remember what side you're on, won't you?"
Nick glared at Lester, not answering.
Not at all phased by this, Lester clasped his hands behind his back and frowned, looking around at them. "Where's the Yankee?"
"Chloe was out when we got the call." Abby quickly answered. "One of Ryan's men went to get her."
." Lester sighed, apparently very put upon. "They're never
anywhere on time."
"This coming from the nation that drives on the wrong side of the road." Chloe piped up as she entered the room they'd been speaking in. She turned to Connor and whispered: "What did I miss?"
"Cutter's wife is still alive, sending him handkerchiefs from the great beyond," Connor whispered back as the others all followed after Nick, as he went to prepare himself. "Apparently he's known for a while now, and so Lester and Claudia are very unhappy with him."
"I think Claudia's jealous." Abby joined in on the whispering as they kept to the back of the group.
"You got the vibe that she's into him too?" Chloe turned to Abby, excited.
Abby grinned and nodded.
"Oy, wait, what?" Connor looked between the girls on either side of his body. "What vibe? When was this? I felt no vibe. When was there a vibe?"
"You're such a bloke." Abby patted his arm consolingly.
"Huh?" Connor blinked.
They continued trying to explain the vibes only the females seemed able to pick up, but stopped speaking when Nick returned, all geared up, and went to the cellar, entering the water and making the final preparations.
Stephen crouched on a wooden platform in the cellar next to his half-submerged friend. "Okay, so you've got about an hour of air, and a mile of rope. Take a compass reference as soon as you get there, and just stay attached. After two hours, we'll reel you back in." He cleared his throat. "The water pressure in the anomaly is going to be intense, okay? So the harder you swim, the more air you're going to use." He held up a harpoon gun. "Now this has an effective range of about ten metres. If you have to use it against a predator, wait until you see the whites of its teeth."
"I've always loved that line when they say it on the telly." Connor confessed to Abby.
Chloe agreed, but it sounded less exciting and more foreboding when it was uttered in real life.
With a salute to his team, Nick dove.
Stephen began playing out the rope.
Chloe went to his side and sat down, looking at the water. "Is he going to be okay?"
"He's Nick." Stephen turned to her. "He's always okay."
Nick swam through the anomaly and emerged on the other side, where there were a surprising amount of hesperonis' swimming around him, but none attacked. Still, he kept a vigilant eye on them and a tight grip on the harpoon gun, ready to use it if necessary, but praying to all holy that that wouldn't come to pass. If only because his aim wasn't exactly the greatest in the world. The scientist surfaced and swam to the shore, where he left his scuba gear (and the rope it was attached to) on the beach, along with the harpoon gun. The blonde took in a deep breath and looked around, eyeing some flying creature above the other side of the lake.
"Helen!" He yelled, looking around.
Shaking his head, Nick set off along the beach, calling Helen's name as he went. Climbing a rock formation, he frowned as he realized there were Hesperonis perched on the rocks, hissing at him, but thankfully they didn't attack. He was halfway up the cliff, where he intended to get a better view of the land, when he heard a splash.
Looking to his left he froze.
Helen Cutter was swimming, naked, in a small pool below.
"Hello Nick," she looked up at him with a smile. Other than her wavy brown hair being longer than he remembered, and her skin was darker from being under the sun constantly, she really hadn't changed in these last eight years. "I see you got my message."
He sighed and made his way down the formation, and by the time he'd reached her she was getting redressed.
Despite the fact that this was his wife, the blonde felt the need to turn his back and give her privacy.
"You've lost weight." She noted from behind him. "You haven't been eating properly."
"You let me think you were dead." He accused, still unable to believe it.
"I am dead as the person you knew." She replied smoothly. "My old life ended eight years ago. You know, you can turn around, I'm decent." She sighed as he did so. "There's no easy way to do this, is there?"
"Well, maybe we should just skip the small talk." He narrowed his eyes. "Why didn't you come back?"
"What are you really upset about Nick?" She sneered. "That I stayed away, or that I didn't tell you what I was doing?"
"I'm not upset Helen." Nick took in a deep breath. "I just don't know who you are anymore.
"You want to know why I didn't come back?" Helen asked curiously. "Because I knew your conscience would make you throw all this out there for everyone to trample over and I wasn't ready to share it then. Hey!" A hesperonis got too close and Helen threw a rock at it. "Hesperonis. Scary up close, but cumbersome and very stupid."
He didn't care.
Helen could obviously tell, if the slight annoyance on her face was anything to go by.
"Is she my daughter?"
Helen then smiled. "Haven't you seen the resemblance between you two? Your coloring is almost identical." That smile grew mischievous. "But she's short-much shorter than either of us. Who's side are we blaming that on?"
Nick couldn't feel the mischievous cheer his wife obviously did.
He felt like he'd been punched in the gut.
"She's my daughter."
"I'm honestly surprised you didn't get a DNA test done as yet." Helen announced with a shrug.
"How could you have done this to me
?" Nick whispered, voice hoarse with emotion as he looked at her. "Chloe's my daughter and yet you preferred to give birth to her 14 years before you even left me for the anomalies? And leave
"What do you want Nick? An apology?" She snapped. "What's the point?"
"Eight years of my life back would be nice." Nick glared at her. "Eight years raising my daughter even better!"
"Your job has always been more important to you than anything, Nick." Helen raised her chin defiantly. "You would have made a piss poor father. I did Chloe a favor when I gave her to Moira and Gabe. They were good people who would devote themselves to her." There was a pause. "Also, I needed her to be an adult by this time. If I'd taken her to you she would have still been a kid, only eight years old. She'd be no good to me at that age. It'd be impossible."
Nick narrowed his eyes. "What
would be impossible?"
Chloe looked up as Stephen joined her on the couch. He'd been down in the cellar the whole time, and if he hadn't come up she would have gone down to check on him.
"Chloe, how long has he been?" Stephen asked, sending a look at the stopwatch in her hand.
Connor nor Abby looked up from the maps they were studying.
"91 minutes, 41 seconds." Chloe read, sighing. "He's still got time."
Stephen nodded. "Yeah, he does."
"The drains." Connor announced, looking up. "Stephen? In theory, a creature could make its way along the sewage system all the way to the river, and once it's there, it could go anywhere."
"And?" Stephen asked.
"Well," Connor cleared his throat. "Good news is the size of the drains rules out anything bigger than a small mosasaur."
Abby narrowed her eyes. "How small is a small mosasaur?"
The self-proclaimed 'massive intellect''s shoulders sagged. "Not small enough."
Chloe was about to ask him to define 'not small enough' when Claudia entered the room with a bunch of men who were pulling on wetsuits.
Stephen frowned, leaning forwards. "What's going on?"
Claudia's only answer was to close the door on them.
Helen handed Nick the lid of a thermos flask and filled it for him.
"Have you come back before?" Nick asked, defensive. "Did you watch me grieve? Did you come to the funeral?"
"No." She looked up from where she filling it. "Was it good?"
"It was okay."
She smirked, standing. "I'll answer all your question, Nick. All you have to do is come with me. You and Chloe. There are more anomalies than you can possibly imagine." Her smirk grew. "And I know how to find them."
"I asked you a question." Nick narrowed his eyes. "What use is Chloe to you now? What use am I now? After so long?"
"I'm human." Helen sighed, shaking her head at him as if disappointed he really needed to ask. "I want company. I want to share this incredible gift, but only with you and Chloe. Nick, I have seen such wonders. Things you wouldn't believe."
"You're asking me to abandon my life. Leave behind everything I know." And yet it was tempting. "You know, people are dying back home, and you want me to just run away with you and the daughter you cheated me out of?"
"Stop harping on that little issue, Nick. I already told you that I have nothing to apologize about concerning our daughter." Helen looked bored with the topic. "And anyway, animals die, Nick. Species die. You know I'm right. One day, humanity will disappear, just like the dinosaurs, and nature doesn't care, something else will just take our place. Nick, just leave all the other stuff behind. Come with me. Become a family with me and our daughter."
He looked all around him with a sigh. "I've got a job to do, you could help me if you like. You could try getting to know your daughter in an as-normal-as-possible environment. Tell her the truth and try form a real bond with her."
Shock was obvious on that beautiful face. "You're rejecting me?"
"I'm asking you to come back with me."
"I offer you the key to time." She shook her head, sneer appearing on her face. "The key to time, Nick. And you turn your back on it? Call yourself a scientist?"
"I call myself a human being." He sighed, tired. The blonde turned and began to return back to where his gear was.
"You disappoint me, Nick." Helen called after him. "Maybe I should have just gone to Chloe instead of trying to include you in our family. Maybe I should have remembered
that your job will always
come before your family."
"I wasn't the one who ran away and abandoned her husband and
daughter." Nick replied, not turning around.
There was no answer to that.
Nick was in a daze as he returned to the shore and put on his gear. Grabbing the harpoon gun he dove back into the lake and began swimming back to the anomaly. He'd nearly reached it when he realized a mosasaur was approaching him steadily. The blonde watched it as it swam above him, and he turned back around and gave a start as he saw another mosasaur, smaller than the first, also heading towards him. He swam away, but the creature head butted him, throwing him a little off course before circling around Nick. A predator rounding up his prey. Firing the harpoon at the creature only served to enrage it, as the harpoon grazed it, causing no lasting harm. He slid the scuba gear off, now useless to him and only serving to weigh and slow him down, but left the rope tied around him.
The shadow of the larger mosasaur appeared behind the smaller one, and just as the small mosasaur was about to attack Nick again, the large one attacked it from the side, obviously attracted to the blood. The larger one viciously killed it, swimming away with the creature in it mouth.
Abby and Connor were still above, Connor looking at the maps and Abby pacing.
Chloe could hear them through the thin floors as she looked at her timer, turning to Stephen and Ryan in the cellar. "It's two hours. He'll be running out of air right about now."
Stephen and Ryan nod to each other, starting to pull on the rope while Claudia, who'd apparently been keeping time upstairs, came down to stand nervously next to Chloe, eyeing the water in worry.
And then they saw Nick.
"He's lost his tank." Chloe whispered in horror.
"Quick, get him out!" Claudia ordered urgently as the unconscious man floated to the surface now that he was pulled out of the anomaly.
Stephen and Ryan jumped into the water, dragging him out.
"Cutter!" Stephen tried to get him to respond.
"Get his head up." Ryan ordered.
"He's not breathing." Stephen announced, voice breaking as they lifted Nick onto the platform with Claudia and Chloe's help.
Chloe just watched, horror filling her body.
Claudia started giving Nick's pale, lifeless body CPR.
"Medic!" Ryan yelled as he pulled himself up onto the platform. "Get some air inside him!"
"Come on." Stephen whispered to Nick as he pulled himself up onto the platform. "Breathe you idiot!"
Chloe lowered herself to her knees next to Stephen, hardly able to breathe due to her worry.
"Breathe." Stephen stressed, nearly angrily.
Chloe found her hand resting over Stephen's. "Come on Nick."
His fingers tightened on hers. "Breathe!"
Suddenly Nick started coughing up water, waking up a little.
Chloe and Stephen gave cries of happiness and hugged tightly before Stephen scrambled to his feet and helped Ryan support Nick, taking him up the stairs.
The two females remained behind, profound relief on their faces.
"You're incredible." Chloe whispered to Claudia.
The redhead just ducked her gaze. "Thank god he's okay."
A stretched was brought to the top of the stairs, and Ryan and Stephen lowered the nearly unconscious man in it.
"Was Helen there?" Stephen could be heard asking.
Nick nodded. "Yes." And then his eyes closed.
"So she was there." Claudia whispered to herself before looking up at Captain Ryan, who was standing at the top of the stairs by himself since Stephen had followed the stretcher away. "You know what to do."
Ryan nodded before turning to someone behind him. "Let's go." He came back downstairs, followed by a bunch of guys in wetsuits and scuba gear.
Chloe narrowed her eyes. "What's going on?"
"It's out of my hands." Claudia whispered, watching as the men put on their masks and entered the water, disappearing below, through the anomaly.
Chloe's eyes widened as she realized what was going on. "Lester said-!"
"I said," Lester announced as he slowly descended the stairs, arms clasped behind his back. "That Helen Cutter has eight years of knowledge about the anomalies, knowledge we simply must have." He raised his chin. "You would have heard that if you had been on time
, Miss Sullivan."
She glared at him, clenching her hand into a fist, and then hissing in pain as her sliced palm throbbed under the pressure.
Lester didn't seem to mind her glare, or even notice it for that matter.
And Claudia looked guilty and annoyed that she was feeling guilty.
Chloe looked at the stairs and back at the water.
No one spoke.
Everyone's gaze was on the water.
Rapid footsteps caused her to look up in time to see a grinning Stephen descending the steps once more. "They said he'll be fine." He reached her side and frowned when he noticed the expression on her face. "What's wrong? What is it?"
But she didn't have to answer.
There were multiple shadows in the water.
Lester took in a deep breath.
Chloe grabbed Stephen's arm, not sure how he was going to react if his best friend's wife really had been captured.
Stephen looked down at her in confusion, and then he looked up as Ryan and his men surfaced, holding Helen Cutter prisoner in their ranks. "Helen
?" His eyes narrowed in anger at Claudia and Lester. "What is the meaning of this
Chloe's eyes widened in disbelief as they pulled the oxygen mask off of the woman, Lester grabbing hold of her and pulling her up onto the platform.
The woman's brown gaze slid onto her.
Chloe's grip on Stephen tightened, her mouth falling open.
He paused in the middle of his accusing Lester and Claudia of going against their word, to look down at Chloe in worry. "Chloe?"
Between Ryan and Lester, they dragged Helen out of the room, Claudia following behind.
Only when they were alone in the room, did Chloe look up at Stephen, shaking. "I know